Well, that was quick! Neil Patrick Harris couldn't resist getting in a jab at fellow actor Shia LaBeouf during the 2013 Tony Awards on Sunday, June 9 -- and it happened within the first minute of the show.
The veteran host kicked off the show with a dazzling number that included an entire stage full of Broadway singers and dancers, a magical trick and even a "Tom Hooper Les Mis close-up," but first, Harris addressed an elephant in the room head-on with a nod to LaBeouf's controversial exit from the Orphans stage play.
"Hi. I'm Neil and I wouldn't be here if someone else hadn't passed on hosting, so special thanks to Shia LaBeouf for this opportunity," Harris dead-panned as he played the part of a struggling musician in the show opener, to which the audience cheered and applauded.
LaBeouf, 26, caused a media firestorm in the Broadway community this year after he abruptly left the stage production in February over "creative differences" with costar Alec Baldwin. The actor later revealed on The Late Show that he had been fired.
"I got fired, Dave, from my job -- I was doing a job out here -- and I decided I would start boxing," LaBeouf told David Lettermanby way of explaining why he was showing up to the talk show with a cast on his left foot.
"Me and Alec had tension as men. Not as artists, but as men," he continued. "In a room, that became a hard thing to deal with. When you've got tension as men, that's tough till July. It's cool for increments, but to do that for a long period of time would have been tough."
In February, the former child star parted ways with the production, later releasing a series of angry email exchanges between himself and Baldwin, 54. At one point, he also tweeted a thinly veiled snipe at Baldwin, claiming that "theater belongs not to the great but to the brash."
Ben Foster would later step in to replace LaBeouf in his role, but the Broadway play closed early, on May 19, just days after the show received two Tony Award nominations (for best leading actor Tom Sturridge and best play revival). It was initially set to run through June 30.
"I think that would be a tough one to pull off, man," he said with a laugh of reuniting with Baldwin after their fiery exchanges. The Transformers actor then looked straight into the camera to address Baldwin. "Alec, I think you're awesome, man."